Big Fish Games

  www.bigfishgames.com
  www.bigfishgames.com
There are newer employer reviews for Big Fish Games

4 people found this helpful  

Incompetent and unappreciative management

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Business Intelligence Engineer in Seattle, WA
Former Employee - Business Intelligence Engineer in Seattle, WA

I worked at Big Fish Games

Pros

Opportunity to wear multiple hats, get broad business & technical exposure. Flat organization, unbuereaucratic business processes.

Cons

Wrong people in wrong positions. Constantly re-inventing the wheel on best industry practices. Lack of respect of experienced and motivated employees. Startup culture has given way to corporate politics.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Less top-down micro-management, empower people, respect subject matter experts instead of forcing people to "collaborate" on team's lowest common denominator (weakest link in chain often defines teams' contributions)

Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

70 Other Employee Reviews for Big Fish Games (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date
  1. 7 people found this helpful  

    A fun place to work, great people, but ultimately games I was working on were not desirable to play.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Design Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Design Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Big Fish Games

    Pros

    It's a fun and relaxed place to work. They give you a fully stocked fridge like many startups, and try to make a relaxed atmosphere. You can even play video games in the break room. I met some great people there who are passionate about technology and games and were dedicated to what they were doing. There were some nice benefits like matching 401k, health insurance, and a free bus pass. It's a good company to learn about video games industry. The office is next to Puget Sound and there are some great views, especially at dusk. When I initially joined, the company had more of a startup vibe which was very empowering. If I didn't know how to do something, I simply learned how to do it and got things done. This environment seemed to change later on as the organization got bigger.

    Cons

    The fun factor of Big Fish Games is sometimes forced and coerced. There is a "shiny happy disneyland fascist" feel about the fun you have. For example, they stage these fun company parties which are juxtaposed by a nefarious, cruel, opaque, yet public way in which some employees were surreptitiously fired for no justifiable reason (at least none that my coworkers or I could surmise). I've never seen this type of behavior at any other company I've worked for and it created a culture of fear amongst me and my fellow coworkers which was counterproductive.

    Ultimately I helped produce games that I was not proud of. I really love video games and it's something I'm extremely passionate about, but I felt that management and many people I was working with did not
    necessarily have the same passion for video games I did; instead all they really wanted was money or a day job. At the end of my tenure, I left because I could not be honest with myself and feel a sense of pride about the games I was working on. I still feel like there's a lot of innovation in this market segment, but unfortunately a lot of my ideas were drowned out.

    A previous reviewer on here stated that , if you want to be successful at Big Fish, be prepared to 'play the game'. I feel that this is sadly true. The leadership team does not want to be challenged by better ideas or better directions, and unfortunately it hurts your career to be overly critical. Many of the folks being promoted are ladder climbers that care little about video games or business strategy, and instead want to suck up to management for the benefit of their own careers. I felt like the company could be ten times better if the politics surrounding it didn't feel like a fraternity, and if more honesty was exchanged.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to all levels of the company. Good ideas sometimes bubble up from below. Ideas are fragile and if they get suffocated by middle management, then this will ultimately stifle your company. I feel like there was not enough transparency in the organization. There's quite a bit of bureaucracy in the company and you need to eliminate this dead weight, even if you are not in a financially bad position. Managers who are likable don't necessarily provide valuable contributions or honest advice for the company. At the end of the day you have a group of managers who are toadies and operate obsequiously. Having a management team of sycophants may feel good on a superficial level, but it doesn't really build true team of A players that will help your organization. As an example, I'm sure Reed Hastings of Netflix had too many of these folks in his company surrounding him, which ultimately led to the disastrous decisions they made in 2011 in regards to price increases and the splitting of their business. I feel like there is a contingent like this in your organization. Sniff them out and fire them.

    Focus on your product more. You have too many bean counters and analytical types who know how to make profits, but don't have many artists, and taste-makers who know what makes a good game (people who love video games and have really good taste). It's one thing to be a video game programmer, and quite another to be an video game artist. Similarly to a previous reviewer's comments, I feel that a lot of senior level managers there don't play games and hope that other people in the organization will somehow make up for their lack of passion. If your A-players can't name their favorite games in the context of the history of video games in a critical way, there can't be any soul in your product. This can't be feigned and you can't rely on others to substitute a lack of passion. You need to make games that you'd like to play yourself in order to be successful. And the only way to know what a good game is, is to be honestly passionate about gaming. I felt that Faunasphere failed because no one in charge actually played it and could honestly critique it; the game was really terrible. At the end of the day, I just couldn't visualize the management team coming home from work, spending their free time playing Faunasphere, and honestly loving it.

    You don't want to be selling shitty games in-between the good ones; it just devalues the brand. What you need is to make really high quality, innovative games. You just need a few of these and things can swing around in your favor. Social games is the trend now, so you need to somehow enter that market, even though there are many competitors. If you have a good concept for a new type of addicting game that's high quality, that can be your way to enter that market. Some social games that are played via smartphones would also be a great idea.

    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    All the challenges of a successful startup, but loads of fun.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Big Fish Games

    Pros

    Working at Big Fish Games has been a great ride. If you are a self-starter, there are many opportunities for personal advancement.

    The people who work for Big Fish are all kids at heart and it shows during the workday (and after hours!). I've enjoyed my time with every coworker I've ever had and have made some great friends over the years.

    As a startup, Big Fish has shown tremendous strategic savvy while navigating the challenging digital gaming waters. Most of their best games are exclusive to Big Fish. The company has grown and continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

    Cons

    There are two major challenges to working at Big Fish. Both are common among successful startups.

    First, engineering resources are stretched to the limit. With so much tech competition in Seattle, Big Fish struggles to land new engineers. This makes it challenging to secure resources for projects not deemed critical. Even the simplest updates to the site can sometimes take weeks or even months.

    Second, with a workforce of less than 500 (and many of them in Customer Support), there aren't a lot of opportunities for career advancement.

    Lastly, if you want to be successful at Big Fish, be prepared to 'play the game' (no pun intended). It is critical that you buddy up to everyone at the Director level or above. Learn the humor (dark and cynical), hone your persona, and get people to like you. It's a very buddy-buddy working environment and you don't want to end up on the outside looking in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase the overall level of transparency and get serious about properly implementing analytics, testing, and improving the new user experience.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
There are newer employer reviews for Big Fish Games

Work at Big Fish Games? Share Your Experiences

Big Fish Games

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.